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Ghostbusters: Afterlife's First Post-Credits Scene Explained

*This article contains spoilers for "Ghostbusters: Afterlife"*

Hollywood's nostalgia craze has resurrected another film from the past. With the theatrical release of "Ghostbusters: Afterlife," fans of the sci-fi classic will finally get to see how this film stacks up to the original. "Ghostbusters: Afterlife" is not a reboot but a direct sequel following the first two films that came out in the eighties.

The franchise did previously attempt a reboot with limited success. With the main cast replaced by an all-female line-up of new characters played by Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones, 2016's "Ghostbusters" was warmly critiqued, but decisively split by audiences, per Rotten Tomatoes

With "Afterlife," the original Ghostbuster team returns. The only actor missing is Harold Ramis, who passed away in 2014. The new film pays tribute to him as well as gives life to some new characters — specifically, Phoebe Spengler (McKenna Grace), who is Egon Spengler's (Harold Ramis) whiz granddaughter. Phoebe takes after her grandfather and thrusts herself headlong into finding ghost traps with the help of her brother Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) and their summer school teacher Mr. Grooberson (Paul Rudd.)

But don't hop out of your seat as soon as the credits roll on this new installment, because a mid-credits sequence will make fans of the original crack a smile.

Venkman and Dana's love has lasted

The conclusion of "Ghostbusters: Afterlife" is full of nostalgia as the three old-timer Ghostbusters arrive just in time to help end the catastrophe. But one character was noticeably absent, considering she was credited in the end sequence. This is quickly cleared up as Dana (Sigourney Weaver) and Venkman (Bill Murray) appear together in a post-credit sequence. Those who have not seen the original "Ghostbusters" may not understand the significance of this moment.

As Dana and Venkman sit together and have a brief conversation, a long-awaited detail is revealed. Venkman establishes that the two maintain a romantic relationship. This is significant as for both "Ghostbusters" and "Ghostbusters II," Venkman and Dana are only officially together offscreen. However, Venkman's motivation for busting ghosts has always been Dana. In the original "Ghostbusters," Venkman pursues her after realizing that her apartment was renovated by architect Ivo Shandor whose intention was to summon Gozer. In the sequel, Dana has a baby not fathered by Venkman, but he is still devoted to helping her. Now over three decades later, the two have found a steady relationship and are still in love.

Venkman gets what he deserves

The "Ghostbusters: Afterlife" mid-credits scene doesn't just pay off by affirming Venkman and Dana's romance. It also features a delightful callback, with Venkman and Dana replicating the introductory scene to Venkman in the original "Ghostbusters."

Interested in ESP, Venkman used to test his students to see if they could intuit what card he was holding. If they were wrong, he would shock them. This scene is updated as in "Ghostbusters: Afterlife" with Dana now testing Venkman using the same method. Dana points out how unethical it is that he would shock his students. Venkman admits he only shocked the male students, which earns him another shock from Dana. Venkman guesses the cards correctly but Dana correctly assumes that he is cheating, so she shocks him again.  

This scene is made for the fans. It serves no story purpose, but is a solid nod to the original. Even though these characters are shown in a more modern context, Venkman still retains his humor. These two characters still enjoy each other. Venkman is even entertained that she rightfully continues to shock him, finally getting a taste of his own medicine.